A Wythenshawe-based “cowboy” airport parking firm has been told to pay more than £3,500 following a trading standards sting.
Mr Nabeel Khoury, age 45, of Greenwood Road, Manchester was personally fined £425 as sole director of PPS Manchester Limited and was ordered to pay £1,000 court costs and a victim of crime surcharge of £42 following a hearing at Manchester Magistrates Court.
The PPS Manchester Limited company was also fined £1,000 after being found guilty of engaging in a misleading action, and ordered to pay court costs of £1,000 along with a victims of crime surcharge of £100.
Mr Khoury and PPS Manchester claimed that car would be parked securely when in fact they were being parked on residential streets in Woodhouse Park, Wythenshawe – nearby to Manchester Airport – which is an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.
In 2016, Manchester City Council’s Trading Standards team fitted a tracking device to a vehicle and booked a three day airport parking service through the PPS Manchester website. The tracker showed the car had been parked on Greenwood Road in Woodhouse Park and clearly not in a secure car park as advertised.
The company’s website claimed that cars are kept on a concrete surface surrounded by fencing, patrolled 24 hours a day by security guards and under the watch of CCTV.
Returning the following day, trading standards officers found the car in the same position before picking up the vehicle from a PPS Manchester driver the next day.
Under interview, Mr Khoury claimed the cars were safe and secure as it was parked outside of his home address, and claimed the promise on the website referred to a period of time when the business was based at another location close to the airport.
He also claimed that if the booking had been for longer, the vehicle would have been moved to one of three secure car parks that he had exclusive use of.
The investigation is part of a multi-agency operation tasked with dealing with meet and greet parking operators in the Woodhouse Park area that sometime leave holiday maker’s vehicles residential streets for up to two weeks.
A dedicated enforcement team has now been set up to tackle the problem of cars being parked obstructively by rogue ‘meet-and-greet’ companies in residential areas during the school summer holidays.
Since the end of July, the enforcement team have received 42 calls from residents that have led 29 penalty charge notices being handed out, and nine vehicles removed from the streets of Wythenshawe.
Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Cowboy meet and greet firms are making life a misery for residents in Wythenshawe and I’m pleased that the Courts have found it appropriate to impose a significant fine on this so-called company.
“I hope this sends a clear message to other illegal operators that deceiving customers will not be tolerated. We are doing everything we can to find you, investigate you and where possible, we will prosecute.
“Many residents are tricked into handing over their car keys to criminals for what seems like a good deal so we strongly advise anybody thinking of using an airport meet-and-greet scheme to research your chosen company carefully and look out for the certified “Buy with Confidence” mark.”
Residents are asked to call the Council on 0161 234 4199 if a vehicle is parked on double yellow lines, if a road crossing is blocked where there is a dropped kerb, if their driveway is completely blocked (where a dropped kerb has been provided by the Council or Wythenshawe Community Housing Group), or if a bus stop is blocked.
Where there is a confirmed case, the Council has powers to take enforcement action, which could include towing the vehicle away.
If a parked vehicle blocks a path or grass verge and makes it hard for pedestrians to pass, residents should contact Greater Manchester Police on 101.
More than a third of children in Wythenshawe are living in poverty according to a report published by a leading charity this week.
Figures revealed by the End Child Poverty coalition shows that in the five local authority wards in Wythenshawe around 34 per cent of youngsters are in poverty after housing costs are taken into account.
The campaign blames the shockingly high levels of poverty in the most deprived areas of the country on benefits policy and price rises and is calling on the public to lobby MPs to urge the government to lift the freeze on benefits for children – currently in place until the end of the decade – so that families no longer see living standards squeezed as prices rise.
In Wythenshawe, 6.728 children are in poverty – defined as in families living on less than the median household income – with the highest concentration, 36 per cent in Woodhouse Park where 1,333 youngsters are below the breadline. The largest number of children in poverty in the town is in Sharston, 1,604, representing 35 per cent.
Wythenshawe’s MP, Mike Kane has called on the Government to take immediate action to tackle poverty. He told the Reporter: “Statistics published by the End Child Poverty Coalition this week on the levels of children living in poverty are a scandal.
“They are the result of this Conservative Government’s flawed policy of cuts and changes to the welfare system. My advice surgery is regularly attended by families who are struggling to make ends meet. It is a disgrace that in 2018 we have a growing need for food bank provision in Wythenshawe.
“As Wythenshawe’s MP I have called for a pause and rethink from the Government on the roll out of Universal Credit which is causing unnecessary suffering and hardship. It is becoming increasing clear that progress on tackling poverty has begun to unravel with falling state support and increasing in-work poverty. I believe this is completely unacceptable and the Government needs to act now.”
The research was carried out on behalf of End Child Poverty by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University, led by Professor Donald Hirsch, and paints an even bleaker picture for other parts of Greater Manchester, with 62% of children in Coldhurst ward in Oldham living in poverty.
In Manchester’s Gorton and Central constituencies nearly half of the children there, 48 per cent, are below the poverty, with the figures for Rusholme and Moss Side both at 56 per cent. In Withington there are 34 per cent of children in poverty with the highest concentration in the Old Moat ward.
Since the introduction of the benefit freeze, the coalition of charities, faith groups and unions has warned that as prices rise, low income families would find it increasingly hard to pay for the same basic essentials.
‘It is scandalous that a child born in some parts of the UK now has a greater chance of growing up in poverty, than being in a family above the breadline’, said Sam Royston, Chair of End Child Poverty and Director of Policy and Research at the Children’s Society. ‘There can be little doubt that the Government’s policy of maintaining the benefits freeze despite rising prices is a major contributor to the emerging child poverty crisis.’
The coalition is also concerned that the impact of poverty may be exacerbated by a poverty premium – which means that low income families can face paying as much as £1700 per year more than better off families, to buy the same essential goods and services. A major contributor to this is the high cost of credit for low income families, and the coalition wants to see the Government address this by providing better access to interest free credit.
Sam Royston said ‘No family in modern Britain should be struggling to put food on the table, heat their homes and clothe their children. End Child Poverty is calling on the Chancellor to end the freeze on children’s benefits, and to invest in interest free credit for low income families, to ensure that poverty doesn’t result in spiralling debt.’
A Government spokesman said: “The best route out of poverty is through employment, and since 2010 an extra three million more people are now in work and 600,000 fewer children are living in workless households.
“But we recognise that budgets are tight, and that’s why we’re helping families keep more of what they earn. We’ve doubled free childcare – worth £5,000 per child each year – while our £2.5 billion pupil premium programme is supporting two million disadvantaged schoolchildren across the country.”
A Wythenshawe man who tried to drive down the wrong side of the motorway in a stolen BMW and smashed into a police car has been jailed for three years.
Drew McWilliam (25) of Cotefield Road, Wythenshawe was sentenced yesterday, Monday 25 September 2017, was jailed for three years for handling stolen property and one year for dangerous driving, to be served concurrently.
Manchester Crown Court at Minshull Street was shown footage of him running from a stolen car. He was found guilty following a three-day trial.
On 29 October 2016, McWilliam was spotted driving a stolen BMW from a home in Timperley and changed its plates in Wythenshawe, before driving onto the M6. Read More…
A taxi driver was left afraid to go back to work after he was attacked and robbed by two men and a teenage girl in Woodhouse Park, Wythenshawe.
Samuel Burrows, aged 21, of no fixed address was jailed for three years and six months and Calvin Macdonald aged 20 of Stoneacre Road, Wythenshawe was jailed for two years, both for robbery. Read More…
Manchester’s legendary Frog and Bucket comedy club is bringing top comedians to Wythenshawe in a road-show gig at the Woodhouse Park Lifestyle Centre.
The roadshow will be held Saturday September 24 featuring Phil Ellis as MC with Chris McCausland and Rob Rouse the fantastic stand up acts.
There’ll be a blast from the past at the end of the month as the resident cabaret act at Wythenshawe’s Golden Garter Club make a return visit to the town.
Shep’s Banjo Boys, who entertained at The Golden Garter in Rowlandsway from 1968 until 1972, will play at the Lifestyle Centre in Woodhouse Park on September 30. Read More…